Back when I was growing up in middle and high school, there was an appetizer that I really loved. Potato skins. I believe my experience started with my parents ordering these at the restaurant chain. My parents were the type of couple who liked to figure out how to make dishes that were great in a restaurant, but make them better in their kitchen. They were not hacks by any means, after all, there was no Internet back in their time, however they took the time to think of the textures, and flavors, and make them something special at the kitchen table, any day of the week. Super simple to make, these loaded potato skins will not only satisfy all areas of your comfort zone, but they leave you feeling a little guilty, and may make you want to go on a brisk jog the following day.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 6 small to medium sized russet potatoes, rinsed clean
- 8 oz of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, or grate your own
- 8 slices of smoked, thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
- 6 tbsp sour cream, optional
- 2 tbsp of chopped chives, optional
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, if you are a fan of sour cream, which I am, add the sour cream to a small bowl, toss in half of the chives, mix, and let this sit in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cook your bacon, low and slow on the stove, for about 15-20 minutes. The low and slow process, in my opinion, is the only way to cook bacon as it really yields perfect bacon every time. Remove the bacon and let any additional fat drain on some paper towel, before you crumble it down.
Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise, into three segments of one potato, long slices. So each potato will yield two skins, right? Discard the middle slice and reuse for breakfast the following morning, or heck for that matter, add some butter, salt, and cream, and make some rustic mashed potatoes.
Continue this cutting process with the rest of the potatoes. You should then have 12 skins. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.
Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.
Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter. Remove, and place generous amounts of cheddar cheese into each skin, topping with bacon pieces. Place these back under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes until the cheese is nice and bubbly. Carefully remove from the oven, and get ready.
I am glad that my kids did not see my facial expression when I took them out. They were perfect, and as my wife saw my face, we looked at one another with complete excitement. As when I was younger, I still had the level of impatience and quickly plated them, adding the additional chives over the top of the skins. My wife ate hers straight up, but I put a dallop of the sour cream and chive mixture on top of mine.
These skins were spot on, and something that will be on my table when I have guests over in the future. Enjoy.